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How good was Paul Scholes back in days

by Sangam Adhikari

Paul Scholes is one of those players who ended their careers without getting enough appreciation. Ryan Giggs and Scholes retired at the same season but it looked as the Welsh got all the attention. Everybody knows that Scholes is a shy and humble guy who barely gives interviews.

Paul Scholes is the perfect midfielder in terms of overall skills that are required for his position. He was strong & powerful, quick & agile & had good balance, good at dribbling & breaking the press, and had a great range of passing from the deep as well as making key passes that opened up the opposition in the final third. His overall technique was so good and such was his control of a football that he could get himself and teammates out of tough and awkward situations and keep the ball circulating well. He was the smart one in the middle who read the game and controlled the tempo. He had not been properly used in the England national team as he had to compete with the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. Curiously these three great midfielders never managed to form a lethal midfield triangle and to contribute for any major international success.

Scholes was the main man in the middle for United during their greatest years. Roy Keane was a leader and an enforcer but Scholes was the technical one. He may not have scored that many goals but in today’s time, more goals are scored in football and it’s become more free flowing and attacking as compared to before, so he would score more. Midfielders in those days were expected to carry out more defensive duties and weren’t given as much freedom as today to get up the pitch and get into scoring positions. This is way greats like Iniesta and Zidane haven’t got the best scoring records. Scorers like Lampard were midfielders by name but really played as false 9s.

Paul Scholes is the best central midfielder considering the words of many professional footballers. You can easily understand how good he is when Sir Alex Ferguson called him back to the squad after his official retirement and he did a great job and helped the club.

A number of retired footballers and managers have had the opportunity to speak about Paul Scholes. Here are a few of their words:

“There is no doubt for me that Paul Scholes is still in a class of his own. He’s almost untouchable in what he does. I never tire of watching him play. You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close to it as you can get. One of my regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my career.” – Zinedine Zidane

“I’m star-struck when I see Paul Scholes because you never see him. On the pitch you can’t catch him. Off the pitch he disappears.” – Luis Figo

“In the last 15 to 20 years the best central midfielder that I have seen — the most complete — is Scholes. I have spoken with Xabi Alonso about this many times. Scholes is a spectacular player who has everything. He can play the final pass, he can score, he is strong, he never gets knocked off the ball and he doesn’t give possession away. If he had been Spanish then maybe he would have been valued more.” –Xavi Hernandez

“At Arsenal me and Patrick (Vieira) didn’t want to face Scholes. We would avoid him.” – Emmanuel Petit

“When he passes the ball it stays passed. The ball goes exactly where he wants it to. I have always loved him for that. I played against him once or twice and he is an absolute genius. He is a role model for anyone who wants to play football. He is a joy to watch. In fact, I wish he was 21, then I could see his career all over again.” – Ian Holloway

“I want to pass like “I have no hesitation in putting a name to the embodiment of all that I think is best about football. It’s Paul Scholes. Many great players have worn the shirt of Manchester United. Players I worshipped, then lost with my youth in Munich. Players like Denis Law and George Best who I enjoyed so much as team-mates and now, finally, players I have watched closely in the Alex Ferguson era. And in so many ways Scholes is my favourite. I love his nous and conviction that he will find a way to win, to make the killer pass or produce the decisive volley. When a game reaches a vital phase, these qualities seem to come out of his every pore. He’s always on the ball, always turning on goal. He’s always looking to bring other people into the action and if he loses possession you think he must be ill.” – Sir Bobby Charlton

“He’s always one of those people others talk about. Even playing at Real Madrid, the players always say to me ‘what’s he like’? They respect him as a footballer and see him as the ultimate.” –David Beckham

“Without any doubt the best player in the Premiership has to be Scholes. He knows how to do everything, and he is one who directs the way his team plays. On top of that, he has indestructible mental strength and he is a genuine competitor.” – Thierry Henry

Who taught him how to do that?” – Ronaldinho

“He’s the phenomenon.” – Ronaldo Luís Nazário

“At La Masia, His name was mentioned a lot .He’s a teacher here “ – Lionel Messi

“I don’t mean to demean or criticise any of the great or very good footballers who played for me during my 26-year career at United, but there were only four who were world-class: Cantona, Giggs, Ronaldo and Scholes.” – Sir Alex Ferguson

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